THE CHEESE SHOULDN’T STAND ALONE

(CNN, EWG 5/11) With the new FDA guidelines on sunscreens, many agencies are advising you to remember that sunscreens alone cannot prevent skin cancer.

 

Don’t forget about staying in the shade, using protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection, and trying to avoid sun at the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm.

 

A recent analysis of random beach/sport sunscreens showed that only 5 out of 600 met the new FDA guidelines …AMAZING!!!!

 

Also, watch when using spray sunscreens- they don’t cover as completely as lotions and can cause you to inhale unhealthy chemicals.

Be especially watchful of this around young children.

 

WOULD YOU BUY SUNSCREEN THAT ADVERTISES, “PROTECTS AGAINST SUNBURN BURN BUT NOT AGAINST SKIN CANCER AND SKIN AGING”?

FDA (6/11). The FDA just released new guidelines for sunscreen labeling.

Despite the explosion of sunscreens, there has also been an explosion of skin cancer. Melanoma has increased by 45% from 1992 to 2004, and it is now the most common form of cancer in young people in their late 20′s.

 

Now all sunscreens that are not really effective will have to advertise that they protect from sunburn but not skin cancer and aging.

 

At this point, statistics show that 20% of all Americans will develop a skin cancer in their lifetime.

 

Sunscreens that advertise SPF 100 may also be banned, as anything over 30 or 50 SPF doesn’t really make a difference except to be more expensive and expose you to a higher concentration of chemicals than you need.

FDA GUIDELINES IN A NUTSHELL

  1. Buy a BROAD SPECTRUM sunscreen, meaning it must protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
  2. Buy at least a 15 SPF. Most doctors would disagree with this and say you need a 30 SPF, but remember that going up to a 50 or even a 100 doesn’t really make any difference.
  3.  No sunscreen can say water or sweat proof, only water/sweat resistant, meaning if you are in serious sun you will need to reapply.
  4. Think about using “physical” sunscreens (zinc/titanium) rather than “chemical” ones. The reasons are that, physical sunscreens act like a mirror; they work almost immediately and don’t tend to weaken as quickly. Chemical sunscreens can take a while (30min) to be activated by the sun, and some of them can lose 60% of their power in 60 minutes because they rely on a chemical reaction which will naturally wear itself out.

YOU ARE ADVISING ME TO DO WHAT….YOU MUST BE KIDDING??

(American Academy of Dermatology, Chicago Tribune 7/11). Skin cancer of the scalp is not common, but because hair can obscure it from diagnosis, it can become more advanced. The AAD has advised that there are sunscreen agents formulated for the scalp (YUCK! THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD OBJECT TO PUTTING EXTRA PRODUCTS INTO FRESHLY COIFFED HAIR), or they suggested changing the part of your hair often   (DITTO! THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD HAVE AESTHETIC OBJECTION TO THIS).

 

THE BEST AND MORE PRACTICAL SOLUTION IS TO ASK YOUR HAIR STYLIST/BARBER OR FAMILY MEMBER TO CHECK YOUR SCALP, AND ASK IF THEY HAVE SEEN ANY UNUSUAL GROWTHS OR MOLES. ALSO WEARING A PROPER HAT IN THE SUN THAT OFFERS PROTECTION AGAINST THOSE UV RAYS IS A GREAT AND EASY SOLUTION.

WHAT IS DEADLIER THAN A MELANOMA- A MERKEL CELL?

Although most people are familiar with the word melanoma, and think it is the most lethal skin cancer, the survival rates for the Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) are much worse. It is an uncommon form of skin cancer. A study done in Australia from 1993-2007 showed 64% of MCC alive at 5 years, versus 90% of the melanoma patients being alive. MCC tends to reoccur even with appropriate treatment. MCC appears as pink bumps usually on the face, neck, and arms. Like melanoma, MCC is related to sun exposure, and is often mistaken for the more common skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma.

 

MOST PINK-RED BUMPS ON YOUR SKIN ARE NOT GOING TO BE MCC – BUT IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THIS THAT PERSISTS, SEE YOUR DERMATOLOGIST AND CONSIDER HAVING A SKIN BIOPSY IF IT DOESN’T RESOLVE.

FLIP- FLOPS AND BASEBALL CAPS MAY INCREASE SKIN CANCER- WHAT NEXT??

(Loyola University Medical Center 7/11). Baseball caps, flip-flops, and other cool summer attire present a serious problem: They leave areas of the skin exposed to harmful rays from the sun. The risk of developing skin cancers in these areas is very real, and especially dangerous on the top of the ears because people rarely inspect or apply sunscreen here.

 

BOTTOM LINE – UNLESS YOU ARE WEARING A HAT OR COVERED SHOES, APPLY SUNSCREEN TO THESE AREAS. IT WILL TAKE LESS THAN ONE MINUTE.

CHEMICAL PEELS MAY PREVENT SKIN CANCERS

Tumor formation was delayed and reduced with chemical peeling agents after exposure to ultraviolet (sun) radiation

 

(Journal Dermatology Science 10/2010) Chemical Peels are popular procedures for the rejuvenation of sun-damaged skin. They can improve fine lines and brown spots on skin that is already at risk for skin cancers. Researchers investigated the effects of Peels on sun induced skin tumors in mice. Some scientists were worried the inflammation caused by the peels could irritate the skin and accelerate skin cancers. They used Peels that contained glycolics, salicylics and TCA (trichloroacetic acids). The results after 8 months showed 95 to 100% reduction in tumor formation, and delayed time to tumor formation!!